I will be the first to admit that I’ve had mixed feelings about Mexico. Just two years ago, my family and I headed down for my cousin’s wedding. While we were away, we unfortunately lost my grandmother – she went quickly, and very unexpectedly. With the exception of my aunt who had the foresight to stay back when, last minute, the doctor told my grandma she wasn’t quite well enough to travel, her entire family was away. All 30 of us. Needless to say, it was incredibly upsetting, and tough everyone. Not exactly Mexico’s fault, of course, but when one of my best friends announced we’d be headed back for her wedding, I originally wasn’t entirely thrilled. You know, not-so-great-memories and all.
Fast forward to a few months later…With the excitement surrounding one of my very favourite people tying the knot, topped with the news that two of our highschool friends, and their respective partners, would be flying in from Stockholm for the nuptials, my anticipation grew. I quickly changed my perspective and decided that this was going to be a whole new Mexico. Armed with an arsenal of restaurant recommendations, and a list of things to do and see off the resort, I was excited. And between snorkeling in Akumal with sea turtles, ingesting the best-ever piña coladas at Safari in Tulum, 5 am salsa lessons in Playa del Carmen, and gorging ourselves on the most ridiculous $1 tacos at a hole in the wall local joint, and watching my sweet friend marry a man who couldn’t adore her more, it’s safe to say that Mexico has re-captured a big chunk of my heart. Here are some of the highlights (in photos), and a mini-guide to Mexico (below).
A MINI-GUIDE TO MEXICO
Where we stayed:
While I much prefer a boutique hotel over an all-inclusive, we all stayed at The Grand Occidental. It was, hands down, the best resort I’ve ever been to. The food was actually quite good (by resort standards, anyhow), the liquor was premium, the staff exceptional, and the place was littered with monkeys and old ruins. It was like living in the Jungle Book. I would happily recommend it if it’s a resort you’re after.
We didn’t stay here, but I’ve heard great things about Coqui Coqui (it’s on my list for next time).
Where we ate:
Hartwood: An open air restaurant on a jungle road in Tulum, just steps away from the beach. Local fare cooked over fire, flickering candles, and next-level cocktails. They take reservations day of at 3:00, so line up early to nab one of the 45 open seats for that evening.
Safari: a just-opened spot steps away from Hartwood. The fish tacos are legit, and the piña colada, made from the juices of a freshly cracked coconut, is unreal. Between the 6 of us we actually cleaned out their colada supply #oops.
El Fogon: Everything you’d want from a hole-in-the-wall taco joint. Do not leave without trying the chorizo quesedilla.
What we did:
Snorkelled with sea turtles in Akumal (hands down one of my better life experiences)
Danced the night away on the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel, in Playa del Carmen
Relaxed at Ziggy’s Beach Club, in Tulum